The first film I saw by Martin Parr was a five minute documentary that takes you on a tour of some of the recurring images in his work: blustery seaside resorts, dogs, tents, families and service stations.
It’s Parr’s personal approach to social documentary that most appeals to me. He enables us to see things that seem familiar in a completely new way – showing us ourselves in all of our ordinary glory.
Among his early influences were people like Tony Ray-Jones whose quiet observation of everyday life with particular emphasis on the sea-side, class and Englishness that appealed.
Black Country Stories is Parr’s new innovative 4 year collaboration with Multistory celebrating the unique mix of communities living in the area and of existing traditional Black Country life.
Parr’s audio, film and photographic journey includes visiting markets, temples, factories, social clubs, tea dances, dog training classes, summer fetes and a whole mixture of other places in Sandwell, Walsall, Wolverhampton and Dudley.
Parr returns to film to capture the asides which reveal the intimacy between film-maker and participants. As one of the workers at Teddy Gray’s sweet factory says ‘it’s the business’.